SEOUL– South Korea’s efforts to secure and bring home a Marine draftee who is currently in Poland without overseas travel permission have stalled due to his refusal to return, a Seoul official said Wednesday.
South Korean Embassy personnel are waiting to contact the Marine outside a checkpoint in a Polish border region to which the man was taken after he was denied access to Ukraine on Tuesday.
He is reportedly refusing to come out of the checkpoint for an unspecified reason. Embassy officials are not allowed to enter the checkpoint as it is a facility under foreign jurisdiction.
The Marine, whose name was withheld, departed for Warsaw on Monday morning. A local media outlet reported the man intended to enter Ukraine to help the country’s fight against Russia’s invasion.
By law, those serving mandatory military service must gain permission for overseas travel. Otherwise, they can be subject to punishment for desertion.
South Korea has banned its citizens from traveling to Ukraine since mid-February amid safety concerns.
The suspected desertion came after Rhee Keun, a former Navy commando, recently entered Ukraine to help its battle against Russia despite Seoul’s repeated warnings.
Source: Yonhap News Agency